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How Tanka Fund Is Supporting Native Buffalo Producers through COVID

How Tanka Fund Is Supporting Native Buffalo Producers through COVID

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” — Chief Sitting Bull

By Trudy Ecoffey, Executive Director of Tanka Fund

In the last few months as we maneuver through the virus waters of COVID, we at Tanka Fund were granted money to “regrant” to Native buffalo producers and organizations. We received several generation grants from Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) and also Northwest Area Foundation to award much-needed relief funds to our Native producers who are either in the midst of raising buffalo or in the process of reintroducing buffalo back.

We just found out that NDN Collective, an organization that supports funding to indigenous causes, will also be giving us funding to “regrant.” Cedar Tree Foundation had already given us regranting money prior to COVID for regenerative agricultural needs, but gave extra money to be able to assist buffalo caretakers even more.

Native producers struggle at times due to price fluctuations in the market, or from weather-related issues such as drought, but this year due to the virus it has been even harder. Like many small businesses across the nation have struggled due to COVID, so have these buffalo caretakers in trying to make ends meet.

So far Tanka Fund has regranted $45,000 in the last few months to assist with fencing, corrals, handling facilities, lease payments, and water development. With the Support the Return campaign, we will be using the donations to leverage with the granting money to be able to support our Native buffalo ranchers even more. We have truly been blessed to be able to do this.

We are also excited about two USDA grants that were awarded to Tanka Fund and will help with training, technical assistance, and a feasibility study to see how best to get buffalo meat more readily available to people locally. So let’s put our minds together and see how we can make things better.

Though this year has been difficult on many levels as the virus continues to affect this nation and many of the tribal nations, we have truly been grateful to be able to continue to support the return. Please take a moment to view video recordings of some of our Native producers that we have supported.